When I was in fourth grade our class re-enacted the first dinner the Pilgrims had with the Indians, and each student was set a task of creating hats worn by the Pilgrims or the bands with feathers that the Indians wore. We also created food; table settings, pine-cone turkeys and my job was to make woven place mats from the earth-toned construction paper. It was so cool when the teacher instructed us on how to make these mats by cutting strips of paper about an inch in diameter. Then the sheet that was to be the mat was folded in half and we marked the paper in inch slots and used scissors to cut our paper down to an inch (on the margin) at the top and bottom. Next we wove the paper strips into the mat and voila, we had a decorative mat. I was so excited about this project that my mother let me make mats for each member of the family that year for dinner.
But, this year I am looking for less labor-intensive ways of prepping our Thanksgiving meal. My mom was the true traditionalist while in the kitchen during the holidays, she would be up at 5 AM to get a 22 or 24 pound turkey with dressing along with a ham and beef roast ready for dinner with all the sides. And while she has handed the ladle over to me along with the majority of the cooking, the kitchen and responsibility are now mine.
So, I decided to tweak a bit off the traditions by changing the meal from sit-down to buffet. I will be prepping a great deal the weekend before the big day with chopping and grating, and then placing items into zip-lock bags before assembling later in the week to make various casseroles and/or side dishes.
I am drafting a menu along with a meal planner so, that I will have a step-by-step guide when cooking. I did a bit of shopping today and will go to several additional stores next week so, that I can settle down to baking and cooking a fabulous meal starting next week, and if I have a bit of time next week I will post the menu planner.